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Water Cooling Tower Inspections


If you are searching for “Water Cooling Tower Inspections” you are either looking for a guide to help you understand the process, or you are looking for a company to handle the job for you. Cooling tower maintenance helps save energy, and extends the life of equipment. The type of cooling tower has a huge effect on how inspections are conducted. Large multi-cell industrial cooling tower systems are naturally more involved than small packaged units. This article will help explore elementary considerations in conducting cooling tower inspections that are relevant to the majority of units.  As with most things there are different methods for accomplishing this task, this article covers just one way to conduct a cooling tower inspection.

General Site Conditions

A great practice in cooling tower inspection is to start with a site evaluation. The first thing to look for is if the cooling tower is clutter free. It’s also important to note if there is discharge flume returning to the inlet which is also known as re-circulation. It is also important to note if the discharge from the cooling tower is being evacuated properly not to interfere with the fresh air intakes. The last item to note is if the physical access to the cooling tower is controlled with locked doors, gates, or other personnel controls.

Site & Unit Identification

Knowing which equipment you are inspecting is one of the most critical steps. Different systems have various operating parameters and operation manuals. For thorough inspection to be conducted you should identify the serial number, model number, and manufacturer. If this information is unavailable or there isn’t a nameplate you should take detailed notes for future reference.

Site Environment

Cooling towers operate in various areas and geography. In heavily wooded areas cooling towers can become fouled or contaminated by sources of debris. These include trees that release pollen, have falling leaves, or other similar debris that can cause diminished cooling tower efficiency. In other arid areas there is a danger of the cooling tower being affected by dust, soil, sand and other materials that can get blown into the air and sucked into the cooling tower system. You should also note if there are an industrial processes that might be exhausting chemicals that could be sucked into your cooling tower.

Many times cooling towers capture a significant quantity of sand and dirt from the air. When this happens it can clog nozzles, get trapped in fill material, and coat heat exchange equipment. Each of these conditions diminishes cooling tower efficiency.

Check Process Water

The water that is used as the coolant in the heat exchange system and cooling tower can become contaminated by the various sources of debris. Visually checking the water quality in the cooling tower can be an important step in checking the condition of the system. Check the water temperature at the inlet for its quality. Pay attention to any solids that are either dissolved or in suspension in the water. Generally just ensure that the water is clean. If it isn’t the cooling tower might experience temperature peaks when in use as the water contaminants will cause higher run temperatures.

Unit Inspection List

These are the following areas that need to be inspected cell by cell. As each component is inspected adequate photos should be taken to catalog the condition of the cooling tower for future reference.

Frame Inspection – The frame is the structure the entire unit operates in. You should inspect the frame to check for areas that might compromise the structural integrity of the cooling tower.  Also look for missing or loose cooling tower components.

Pipe Inspection – There are two main pipes that need to be inspected, the pipe that is part of the cooling tower and the pipe that runs beyond the perimeter of the cooling tower. Things to look for are that the pipe is installed correctly and ensure that the pipes are in good condition.

Fill Inspection – The fill needs to be inspected to see if there is any fouling or deposits that would interfere with air or water circulation. If there is physical damage to the fill, fouling, clogging, or uneven water distribution the fill isn’t working up to its design specifications.

Drift Inspection – Drift eliminators are designed to prevent the loss of water during cooling tower operation. During operation air is circulated through the system inspection should note if there is an excessive amount of water exiting the system through the drift eliminators.

Louver Inspection – If equipped the louvers should be inspected to ensure proper installation, condition, and that they are not caked with debris.

Inspecting The Cold Water Basin – The structural integrity of the basin should be inspected much like the frame.  In addition the basin should be inspected for corrosion, leaks, debris, algae growth, even water distribution, particle deposits, anti-vortex devices, and uneven temperature.

Inspecting Hot Water Basins – If the system includes a hot water basin it should also be inspected like the cold water basin. There should be no dry spots, no overflow or signs of overflow, and it should have adequate water distribution.

Mechanical Equipment Inspection – Review the overall condition of mechanical equipment for abnormal vibration, unexpected noises, overall structural integrity, and watch for leaks from any of these cooling tower components. If you are able to check the RPMs, airflow, and amperage of the equipment used in the tower it will help identify faulty mechanical equipment.

 Phoenix Cooling Tower Maintenance

Keeping your energy costs down is a big priority of every commercial and industrial facility in Arizona. HVAC systems are one of the largest draws of electricity for commercial and industrial buildings. Cooling tower inspection and maintenance helps ensure that all of the components are working properly and operating at their highest design capacity. When these components are working properly the cooling tower will run with less energy and will cost your business less. For Phoenix valley cooling tower maintenance call All Kote Inc. at 480-966-4446.

One thought on “Water Cooling Tower Inspections

  1. We do a lot of machinery condition inspections. Do you have a severity criteria for the levels of vibration in/sec in either rms or peak that you rely on? Beyound visual inspection of components, do you have a severity criteria for pipe wall loss from corrosion or wear?

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